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When

When his mother closed the door and turned out the lights, he knew the Pumpkin Heads would start flashing. His eyes rolled like headlights in search of a brake. He drove them into the pillow, but they bored through the stuffing and burned the mattress until smoke choked and he coughed himself upright. They were... Continue Reading →

Sicilian Defense

A chill stings the air as light begins to fade behind the terrace. The game plan hadn’t quite worked. His phone rings. Rosita’s silvery voice makes it clear. There would be no end game. She’d caught him out. She was leaving. Check, he thinks. That’s it mate. She wasn’t coming back. He turns across to... Continue Reading →

Slippery Slopes

The wind slithered across the lake like a puck skating ice. I watched shadowy waves crinkle under the clouds, spin into a turbulent flock of birds swirling, swooning, spiralling away into the sky in search of tranquillity and a land far away. My lungs were belching air, gulping blubbery splatters, balloons of oxygen floating past... Continue Reading →

Press Snooze

The water stretches taunt, as flat as ice, shimmering, glinting in the sun. They spoil me. I lie in bed staring at the trees huddled by the lake, the birds rising effortlessly to flight, the silent rustle of wildlife scampering to safety on the other side of my panes. My parents give me everything I... Continue Reading →

Bloody Valentines

Buck left the box in her hands and waited for the explosion. He laughed gently when it came, first the laughter, then the shriek, the wail as she saw treachery bloom with a poisonous twist. He turned to run away, down the garden path, but his legs buckled on the trip wire she’d placed carefully... Continue Reading →

I won’t tell a soul

Johnny boy had a secret, a deep, dark, blue one. Linda wanted to know it. “Go on, tell me!” “Later.” That was his way of luring her into a first kiss, and more. The suspense faded under the weight of a wedding, three kids, retirement and rising medical bills. Linda lay on her bed, hair... Continue Reading →

Maggie May

Maggie swayed off the sofa. Darkness hovered, shadows clouded her vision. She stumbled, fumbled towards the garden door. The handle stuck. She jerked, cranked. “Bastard.” The words wheezed to life as she dropped to her knees. Her breath shrank, squeezing between clenched teeth as she tried to puff herself up.  “He knows I’m claustrophobic,” she... Continue Reading →

Off-line

Harriet was worried. She checked his identities but they were all off line. She sweated, her fingers growing cold and frigid on the keyboard. She knew who he was. He lived around the corner. She looked in the bathroom and eventually found some of their mother’s lipstick, dark mauve. She daubed it on without a... Continue Reading →

You’re so vein

I reached out and groped her hand. She turned and slugged me on the cheek. I rebounded, red in the face, spluttering. She laughed gently, pushed away my arms and stroked my hair with a single movement. My mouth formed a word, but my lips refused to yield. Silently, I waited for a hint of... Continue Reading →

The Sky at Night

Francesca's trainers scuffled along the path. She kicked a pebble towards the bins. It missed but they rattled pleasantly in the wind regardless. She paused at the bus stop. She didn't need one but desperately needed to sit. The hard green plastic was pockmarked and damp. She didn't care. She let the cold murky dampness... Continue Reading →

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